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The King of Lies Hardcover – May 16, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (May 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031234161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312341619
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hart's stunning debut, an exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller, compares favorably to the best of Scott Turow. Jackson Workman Pickens, whom most people call "Work," is a struggling North Carolina criminal defense attorney. Work has wrestled with inner demons for most of his life, especially after the death of his mother and the disappearance of his wealthy father, Ezra Pickens, a highly successful lawyer who took him into his practice. Trapped in a loveless marriage and haunted by poor emotional choices and his sister's psychological trauma, Work finds himself under suspicion when his father's corpse surfaces more than a year after Ezra was last seen alive. Work's quest for the truth behind his father's demise opens old wounds and forces him to face the consequences of his own decisions. Few readers will be able to resist devouring this tour-de-force in one or two sittings—or clamoring for more John Hart.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Jackson Workman Pickens, or Work, has always lived in the shadow of his larger-than-life father, a respected attorney. His life as he knows it–the law practice he shares with his father, the beautiful home and socialite wife–is a tribute to Ezra Pickens's ideas of success. When Ezra is found shot to death, Work is ambivalent about helping the police find the killer, afraid that the path will lead to his younger sister, Jean. Only he and Jean know how abusive their father was and how his actions ultimately led to their mother's death. Work's reticence only serves to reinforce the lead detective's belief that he is the guilty party, especially since he stands to inherit over $15 million. As Work becomes more enmeshed in a web of circumstantial evidence, he learns that his sister's partner, Alexandria, was convicted of killing her own abusive father, and he begins to fear for his sister's safety as well as his own. Hart has crafted a mystery with fully developed characters and a fast-paced and intelligent plot. He not only gives readers plenty of action and suspense, but also delves unflinchingly into the dynamics of family relationships. Teens who enjoy Grisham and Turow will want to be among the first to read this exciting new voice in the mystery genre.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

John Hart is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies, Down River and The Last Child. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, John has also won the Barry Award and England's Steel Dagger Award for best thriller of the year. His books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and can be found in over fifty countries. A former criminal defense attorney, John has also worked as a banker, stockbroker, and apprentice helicopter mechanic. A husband and father of two, he spends his time in North Carolina and Virginia.

Customer Reviews

It is very well written with excellent character development.
T. L. Holcomb
The other characters seem to be a little too "stereotypical" - it almost makes the plot too predictable and much like a "cliche".
Igor Dumbadze
These are quick, fast paced, easily absorbing books with good plots, interesting characters, and lots of twists and turns.
Donna E

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By TaxVictim on May 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A small-town lawyer's midlife crisis is sparked by the discovery of the dead body of his overbearing father. Although told in the first person, the tale gives good background and many interesting stories about other characters. In his search for his father's killer, the narrator uncovers a lot of dirt, human suffering, and neglect in his small town, all while trying to juggle his own affairs and keep himself out of jail as the prime suspect. Our first-person narrator has a good literary style while not sounding too cute about it (unlike some other famous authors' attempts at first-person writing).

It would seem very difficult to write a good first-person thriller, giving the reader all of the necessary clues to solve the case while still making us go "D'oh, I should have known!" at the end. Kudos to the author for pulling it off.
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99 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ezra Pickens, North Carolina backwoods lawyer extraordinaire and hardass of Olympian proportions, has been missing for eighteen months and feared dead. When his skeletal reamins are finally found in an abandoned mall, there is no doubt he was murdered. Lawyer son Jackson Workman Pickens, or "Work", stumbles around in some feeble attempt to protect sister Jean, who he believes the perp, and soon finds himself the prime suspect.

John Hart's debut reads like two different novels. In the first half of the novel, I found "Work" simply annoying. I doubt that Hart wanted to make his protagonist such a wimp, but about 100 pages of Work's whining about his childhood, his mean rich daddy, and his pathetic life in general was just grinding me down. OK, so he's not had the model life, and as a result his drinking, adultery, and general shiftlessness is justified. We got all that - let's move on.

And remarkably, Hart does just that. Once past the bitch wife, the gay sister and her wacko girlfriend, and the cop with a grudge, Hart spins a genuinely suspenseful mystery and legal drama, reminiscent of Scott Turow in his early days. The plot thickens, unfolds, takes a couple of entertainingly ugly diversions, and finishes with a John Grisham flourish. Hart has literary skills, no doubt about it, and he spices up his drama with tales of child abuse and murder definitely not for the feint of heart. While off to a slow start, Hart finishes strong, and is definitely a name to watch.
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62 of 75 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book so much. The main character, a man as flawed as the rest of us, had me enthralled from the first page. By the middle of the book, I found myself unable to put it down, reading page after page as fast as I could. I have to admit, I kind of had the whole thing figured out, but that didn't take away the pleasure of reading this book to the end. A little twist here, a liitle twist there, great reading.

I look forward to your next book Mr. Hart.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M. Reece on May 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I can say without hesitation that The King of Lies is simply the best novel I have ever read. I almost hope the author will stop with a work that is at worst a whisker shy of perfection.

Yes it has the suspense of a good mystery novel but without resorting to anything that doesn't feel completely honest. Unfortunately, I know from growing up in a small southern town similar to the one that is the setting for this book that the nastiness the characters of "Lies" must face is very real. You don't need to read John Hart's bio to realize that he is writing from experience. Reading this novel was like listening to a piece by Mozart. What at first seems like a few simple "notes" evolves into a masterpiece. Even though every review I have read of this great book has so far been positive, none has yet come close to doing it justice.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazoniac on June 23, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book must have been written first as a script for a TV show, because the cliched dialogue was full of the kind of lines that one hears on TV and doesn't really notice, but that in the audiobook leapt out at me. Every character says each of these lines one or more times:

"What do you mean?"
"What are you saying?"
"I don't understand."
"What?!?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"It doesn't matter."

And the narrator's favorite: "I need to talk to <fill in the blank>." He always needs to talk to somebody BEFORE he can take the next logical step, and this really slows down the already molasses-in-January action.

No one seems to hear a thing the first time it is said, which leads to interminable repetitions of the obvious.

But even if the dialogue were repaired, that leaves the draggy plot, the narrator's harping over and over again on how he wants to protect the person he believes is the murderer, the lack of explanation of why the detective is on a personal crusade against the narrator. Others have mentioned the device of the disheveled street person who Knows Things and then who vanishes from the story. The dog disappears from the story, and he was my favorite character. I also figured out who the killer was and I HATE it when I figure that out early in a book. I like to be surprised and astonished. (There was ONE thing in the plot that was unexpected, and if you read this book, you'll know it when you get there.) The only thing that really astonished me was how many people here said they liked the book.

P.S.
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